27 April 2011

Coffee Cookies

Whenever a family event comes around I always like to bake at least one cookie. I'm not exactly sure why but there is something about a good cookie that is hard to match. So as Easter approached I knew that a cookie would be on the menu, I just wasn't sure which one. Up until a few days before I was pretty sure I was going to make Dorie Greenspan's World Peace Cookies, but with another chocolate item on the menu already and it being Easter, I figured I should tone it down a bit. I asked my brother for a suggestion and within a few minutes he came up with the idea of using coffee. His reasoning: I had never done anything with coffee before. Can't argue with that.

With a few days until zero hour I began my search for a recipe. All had varying amounts of coffee, coffee types, and proportions of other ingredients but for some reason none of them got me particularly excited. It seemed that most recipes didn't have enough coffee (in my estimation) or required a coffee icing to compensate, of which I'm not a fan (especially when it's icing on cookies). I finally decided on a recipe about twelve hours before I would start baking and even then I wasn't sure. But it was from a trusted source, so I was optimistic.

I was slightly worried about the bitterness of the cookie if I reduced the sugar, so I didn't touch it, but that didn't stop me from adding more coffee to the recipe either :). As a warning, if you are using instant espresso powder, you might want to stick with the original amount since I hear it's a bit stronger than your run of the mill Folger's Crystals (or Maxwell House, as I used). I ran the coffee through a spice grinder to make it more like flour. I wanted it to incorporate into the batter more completely, making the flavour more potent over all. My only other change was to toss in some toffee chips. I had originally intended on using butterscotch, but after doing a quick taste test with my brother we both decided that toffee was the way to go. We felt that the crunchy texture would be great contrast in the cookie. Because the original recipe didn't have any mix-ins, I decided to add an extra tablespoon of milk to ensure the dough would still come together (or be too thin to use :)). Oh yeah, and because I'm not a huge fan of cinnamon and coffee, I swapped it with nutmeg (I know, I know.. issues :)).

As I combined the dry ingredients all I could smell was nutmeg (something that made me infinitely nervous at the time), but as soon as I added the dry ingredients to the wet it was a like a Starbucks exploded in my kitchen (I hate Starbucks :)). And as the cookies baked I felt like some kind of Willy Wonka Barista (the Gene Wilder version). I was very excited. But I can't stress enough how important it is to let the cookies cool on your cookie sheet for the full ten minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. They are extremely soft when they first come out of the oven.

The cookies are quite thin, crisp just on the edges, and nice and chewy throughout. Most importantly they are BURSTING with coffee flavour. It's strong but not overpowering or unpleasant. The nutmeg really isn't noticeable but you do get a little hit of the salt, which is quite pleasant. I might even add a little more next time. My only disappointment might be with the toffee chips. Although their flavour was nice, I didn't realize they would melt, negating the reason for adding them. Next time I will go with the butterscotch.

These cookies were a big hit at Easter dinner (my Mother fell in love with them and my Aunt asked me for the recipe, which is always a huge compliment). I can't wait until I have a chance to make them again. Very few things go better with a cup of coffee than a good cookie so what could be better than coffee in a cookie? With that in mind, next time you have a late night ahead of you, take some initiative and bake yourself a batch of these cookies. Sure when you're finished eating them you might need a larger pair of pants (I suggest one with an elastic waist), but dumping a plate of coffee cookies into your lap is far less painful than the alternative :).


Coffee Cookies

Adapted from Baking Bites

Yields approx 3 1/2 dozen 3 inch cookies (I used this cookie scoop)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (195g)
3 tbsp dark roast instant coffee, ground fine in a spice grinder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup sugar (100g)
1/2 cup packed golden yellow/light brown sugar (110g)
1/3 cup butter, room temperature (75g)
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup toffee chips or chips of your choosing

Preheat oven to 400F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl add flour, instant coffee, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg and whisk to combine.

In the medium bowl of a mixer cream together butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat until completely combined.

Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing until combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in toffee chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, approximately 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a spoon. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies begin to brown at the edges (I found between 8 and 9 minutes to be the best time). Allow to cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before moving to rack to cool completely.

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